Dear Annie: I have been married for 36 years. Eight months ago, I learned that my husband had been calling other women, one in particular, for the past two years. The calls included text messages and pictures.
The woman he was mostly in touch with is someone I know. She is married. My husband would call her multiple times, and each call would last nearly an hour. In addition, they would text each other 40 times during the day.
My husband refuses to explain why he started calling her and will not tell me what they talked about. This has led to some terrible fights. I don’t know what to do. I love my husband very much and was devastated to learn about these calls.
He says they did not have a sexual affair, and I want to believe him. I have gone to counseling. He went once, but when the counselor asked him to talk about the phone calls, he became angry and stomped out. I suggested going to a different counselor, but he says he doesn’t need to.
I have forgiven him, but I am haunted by images of them together. I would like him to respect our marriage enough to tell me the truth, but I have no idea how to get him to open up. Am I being too demanding?
Lost in the Country
Dear Lost: You are not wrong. Your husband doesn’t want to take responsibility for his affair (physical or emotional) and has made you believe that you are not entitled to the truth. But he has an obligation to be completely transparent about his motives and behavior. Since he refuses counseling, please continue on your own and work through this in whatever way is best for you.
Dear Annie: I am really concerned about my husband. He became unemployed at the beginning of this year when we were expecting our second child.
Right now, he is selling cars to get by, but the hours are brutal, and the pay is inconsistent. He went back to school to study computers and network security and applied for a job with a computer company. This is an exciting opportunity for him.
The company asked to schedule an interview. My husband told them he is busy this time of year, but would be available as soon as he has next month’s schedule and can check the dates. He left his cellphone number for them to contact him, and now we are just waiting. It has only been a few days, but I am so stressed about this. By saying he was busy, did he take himself out of the running for an interview?
Dear Concerned: No. Your husband should call the company as soon as he knows his schedule. The fact that he is busy with another job could actually work in his favor. There is, of course, a possibility that the company will hire someone else in the meantime, but that could have happened regardless. Concentrate your thoughts on a positive outcome. Good luck.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Kids First,” who took a cruise with her in-laws. She was upset when she had to leave and discovered that her husband and in-laws went out drinking and took the 12- and 14-year-olds along to watch. I think she should lighten up.
These were adults having a good time on vacation. Also, these kids are not toddlers. If Mom sits down and talks to her children about her feelings, they will learn to be responsible. She shouldn’t shield them from life.
Dear D.: We agree that the best way to teach your children to hold fast to the moral standards you set is to teach and explain, not avoid and shield. But it helps when those relatives and friends the children look up to do not deliberately undermine the parents.
Dear Annie: May I comment on “Undecided Mom,” who can’t decide what mementos to give her children? Give the kids everything.
I, too, saved our children’s report cards, notes to the teacher when they played hooky, school photos, Boy Scout and 4-H awards, everything. When the last one graduated from college, I made a scrapbook for each child. I captioned the photos and trimmed the newspaper clippings. Dates, occasions and names were handwritten below. The entire project took several months to complete, and it was a walk through memory lane and a labor of love.
It was their Christmas present that year. The looks on their faces were priceless. These scrapbooks are now among their most prized possessions and are shared with their friends. They are still enjoying them 15 years later. Yes, there were a few embarrassing things included, but that was part of the fun.
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